Palacios and My Humble Home

Sevilla - Casa de Pilatos
You might have guessed that this is not my home. No, it’s the “Casa de Pilatos“, a 16th-century Andalucia palace and considered one of the finest examples of Andalusian architecture of sixteenth century Sevilla: Courtyards, paintings, frescos, statues of emperors from nearby Italica and azulejos (tiles) wherever your eyes can see.

Sevilla - Casa de Pilatos

Tiles are everywhere in Sevilla, not just in palaces. Every fleamarket has them for sale mostly from renovated houses, when the old floors are ripped out. These tiles are then sold to tourists so that they can bring them home as a souvenir from Spain.

Sevilla - Casa de Pilatos
Unfortunately tiles are heavy. There is no easy way to bring them overseas without increasing dangerously your luggage allowance. And even if it was possible it’s still hard to imagine Hispanic tiles in upstate NY; they’re just not part of the visual experience in this part of the country.

I once brought a beautiful dress from Malaysia and was determined to wear it, forgetting for a moment that wearing a indigenous looking garment would make me feel uncomfortable and somewhat ridiculous. Just the same way tourists look when they dress enthusiastically in “Lederhosen” for Octoberfest, if you know what I mean. The dress has been hanging in my closet ever since.

When we bought our house, it was, and still is, a jumble of different styles. That’s a good thing as there’s an “anything goes” feel, that could include some tiles to remind us of our time in Spain. Our house didn’t have a wood stove, which I bitterly missed this winter, but our house doesn’t allow for one. When a vintage gas stove turned up cheap, we didn’t hesitate and are now owners of a green cast iron stove. Vintage means there was no color choice, but luckily we like green. Building a hearth seemed a good idea and this is where the tiles come in.
We ordered some Mexican tiles (not really Andalucia, but close enough) from Tierra y Fuego and are in the process of building a hearth:

Tierra y Fuego Tiles
It was challenging to bring together a peacock colored green stove, a yellow green carpet and the rest of the room, but I think we did it. It’ll be installed this week. This is how far we’ve gotten and you’ll see the end result shortly.

Tierra y Fuego Tiles
As I said, Mexican tiles make sense in Mexico and maybe California, but not so much in upstate NY. However, for me, these reminders of a time abroad are essential. They will bring a little bit of palacio into my humble home. And if it all works out, maybe, I’ll wear that dress one day.

What are your favorite souvenirs or reminders of a trip or vacation and how do you integrate them into your life and home?

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10 Responses to “Palacios and My Humble Home”

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  1. Strikkelise says:

    I love buying small kitchen things abroad, like a parmesan mill from Florence and a glass measuring cup/pitcher from Dublin. I also usually buy things like spices and cake toppers which of course get used up but are nice little everyday souvenirs.
    Recreating the beauty of a visited place is really hard. I remember dreaming of building a tiled bench which I saw in Ronda, Spain (not that far from Sevilla), but I realised it would look strange in our garden. And it probably wouldn't survive winter!
    Your tile project is a nice adaptation, though.

  2. Vicki K. says:

    You have found perfect tiles to complement your other elements! Seems like the hearth will only enhance your eclectic mix. And if you decide you won't be wearing your dress, I know you'll find a fabulous way to repurpose it.

    When I travel I tend to bring back fabrics or tablecloths. This puzzles my family a little that I buy More Fabric. This Christmas our tree "skirt" was an hand loom woven Albanian tablecloth and we had handknit Albania socks hanging with the stockings.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    The tiles are beautiful! They will make a lovely hearth.

    If you never really feel comfortable wearing the Malaysian dress out in public, you could always put it on to sit in front of your nice new stove. I have several things hanging in my closet like that. In my opinion, having a few beautiful clothes you never wear but like to look at is no different than having a few knick knacks and there is nothing wrong with that.

  4. NJOma says:

    The tiles are gorgeous, and I'm sure it'll look wonderful when you are done!
    I bring back pottery from the Westerwald when I go to Germany, mostly old pieces found at flea markets, plus I used to make a trip to Mettlach to buy yet more dishes, a quilted pillow in Hawaii, the Russian nesting dolls when the USSR was sold off, linens from the Alsace region and I'm sure more. What an interesting question to ask!

  5. Earthdrummer says:

    I miss (and will purchase this year!) all the cuckoo clocks that I heard on an hourly basis when I lived in Germany. The clocks. How I miss that sound of surety.

    Thank you for sharing. Surround yourself with the items you love…..always!!

  6. Charissa says:

    Love it. My in-laws live in Iowa and have a beautifully Mexican tiled kitchen! Keep rocking your eclectic style in upstate New York!

  7. Jenny says:

    The tiles are stunning and just perfect for your stove area.They remind me of an arts residency I was awarded in Barcelona. The garden had gorgeous little nooks decorated with broken pieces of tile and china.

    I bring home baquette bags whenever Im in Paris,to use as paper in my books and just look at, cheese boxes,snow globes, packaging and pick up street litter for my art and decor in home. Last year I came home with 5 large boxes of junk from France.

    In Spain,bottle tops, paper, scarves for fabric. I also pick up free postcards from the streets in my travels. Some are framed or kept in piles on tables through out the house,others cut up for collages.

  8. OrloSubito says:

    I want to see that dress absolutely!!!!!! I always take things from Colombia when I go home, but is true some times here they don't seams so nice here in Italy, like in Colombia:-D

  9. Jannette says:

    THose tiles are beautiful! Great colours..

    I only ever bring back food these days. Our house is too full of things as it is, and this way I get to enjoy the aftertaste of the holiday without adding to our mess. ALthough fossils and stones always seem to make their way back anyway though…

  10. guam_mummy says:

    My favourite things I have are a small mortar and pestle from Volterra and a really small stove top espresso coffee maker from Venice. Oh and some tiles I bought back from Turkey that I use as drink coasters. I love the way you have used the tiles with the stove :) Oh and I LOVE your blog!

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